Buyer Resources - Articles

Buying Your Home - Home Inspections & Warranties

Do I need a home inspection?
Yes. Buying a home "as is" is a risky proposition. Major repairs on homes can amount to thousands of dollars. Plumbing, electrical and roof problems represent significant and complex systems that are expensive to fix.

How do I find a home inspector?
Your Realtor is one source. But keeping them independent from the agent may be a good idea. Inspectors are listed in the yellow pages. You can ask for referrals from friends. Ask for their credentials, such as contractor's license or engineering certificate. Also, check out their references.

In order to find a home inspector, Dian Hymer, author of "Buying and Selling a Home A Complete Guide," Chronicle Books, San Francisco; 1994, advises looking for someone with demonstrable qualifications. "Ideally, the general inspector you select should be either an engineer, an architect, or a contractor. When possible, hire an inspector who belongs to one of the home inspection trade organizations."

The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has developed formal inspection guidelines and a professional code of ethics for its members. Membership to ASHI is not automatic; proven field experience and technical knowledge of structures and their various systems and appliances are a prerequisite. One can usually find an inspector by looking in the phone book or by inquiring at a real estate office or sometimes at an area Realtor association. Rates for the service vary greatly. Many inspectors charge about $375 or higher depending on the size of the home and the scope of the inspection.

What's a home inspection?
A home inspection is when a paid professional inspector -- often a contractor or an engineer -- inspects the structure of the home, searching for defects in the  mechanical systems or other problems that might plague the owner later on. They usually represent the buyer and are paid by the buyer. Inspections usually take place after a purchase contract between buyer and seller has been signed. There may be more than one kind of inspection depending on the buyers desire. Sewer scopes, Oil tank detectors, Radon, Pest and Dry Rot, Well flow tests, are some of the others that a buyer might want to have during the negotiated inspection period.  Oregon Real Estate forms provides buyers with a list of types of inspections a buyer can choose from to identify as part of the sales agreement.  These tests are performed within an accepted time line between buyer and seller.

Jennifer Shetler
Jennifer Shetler
Principal Broker/Owner, CRS, ABR, HOWNW